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Defects Can “Hulk-Up” Materials

Junqaio Wu Hulk feature

A Berkeley Lab study has shown that just as exposure to gamma radiation transforms Bruce Banner into fictional superhero the Hulk, exposure to alpha-particle radiation can transform thermoelectric materials into far more powerful versions of themselves.

CLAIRE Brings Electron Microscopy to Soft Materials

CLAIRE image of Al nanostructures with an inset that shows a cluster of six Al nanostructures.

Berkeley Lab researchers, working at the Molecular Foundry, have invented a technique called “CLAIRE” that extends the incredible resolution of electron microscopy to the non-invasive nanoscale imaging of soft matter, including biomolecules, liquids, polymers, gels and foams.

Using Microbial Communities to Assess Environmental Contamination

The Bear Creek watershed in Oak Ridge, TN, was a a crucial site for the early development of nuclear weapons under the Manhattan Project and harbors spectacular geochemical gradients.

A study sponsored by ENIGMA, a DOE “Scientific Focus Area Program” based at Berkeley Lab has found that statistical analysis of DNA from natural microbial communities can be used to accurately identify environmental contaminants and serve as quantitative geochemical biosensors.

Counting All Costs, Berkeley Lab Researchers Find that Saving Energy Is Still Cheap

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Researchers at Berkeley Lab have conducted the most comprehensive study yet of the full cost of saving electricity by U.S. utility efficiency programs and now have an answer: 4.6 cents. That’s the average total cost of saving a kilowatt-hour in 20 states from 2009 to 2013, according to a new Berkeley Lab report. To arrive at that average, researchers collected and analyzed several hundred regulatory documents filed in each state by utilities and other administrators of efficiency programs that are funded by utility customers.

Energy Department to Provide $75 Million for ‘Fuels from Sunlight’ Hub

DOE Under Secretary Orr (second from right) tours Berkeley Lab's JCAP facility.

The U.S. Department of Energy today announced $75 million in funding to renew the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP), a DOE Energy Innovation Hub originally established in 2010 with the goal of harnessing solar energy for the production of fuel. JCAP researchers are focused on achieving the major scientific breakthroughs needed to produce liquid transportation fuels from a combination of sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide, using artificial photosynthesis.

National Security on the Move with High Energy Physics

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Scientists are developing new technology that will safely and quickly detect nuclear material in large objects such as cargo containers.

Major Advance in Artificial Photosynthesis Poses Win/Win for the Environment

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By combining biocompatible light-capturing nanowire arrays with select bacterial populations, a potentially game-changing new artificial photosynthesis system offers a win/win situation for the environment: solar-powered green chemistry using sequestered carbon dioxide.

Electrolyte Genome Could Be Battery Game-Changer

Berkeley Lab scientist Kristin Persson and her electrolyte genome team.

A new breakthrough battery—one that has significantly higher energy, lasts longer, and is cheaper and safer—will likely be impossible without a new material discovery. And a new material discovery could take years, if not decades, since trial and error has been the best available approach. But Berkeley Lab scientist Kristin Persson says she can take some of the guesswork out of the discovery process with her Electrolyte Genome.

New “Cool Roof Time Machine” Will Accelerate Cool Roof Deployment

Berkeley Lab research associate

A collaboration led by Berkeley Lab scientists has established a method to simulate in the lab the soiling and weathering of roofing materials, reproducing in only a few days the solar reflectance of roofing products naturally aged for three years. Now this protocol has been approved by ASTM International as a standard practice for the industry.

A Better Way of Scrubbing CO2

Manganese-based MOF

Berkeley Lab researchers have discovered a means by which the removal of carbon dioxide (CO2) from coal-fired power plants might one day be done far more efficiently and at far lower costs than today. By appending a diamine molecule to the sponge-like solid materials known as metal-organic-frameworks (MOFs), the researchers were able to more than triple the CO2-scrubbing capacity of the MOFs, while significantly reducing parasitic energy.